Paul Manafort’s Four Oligarch Search Warrant

In advance of a suppression hearing before the mercurial TS Ellis on Friday, Mueller’s team further unsealed the materials surrounding the two warrants at issue — of Manafort’s storage container, and of his Condo. In the unsealing of the latter, they disclosed this language from a July 2017 affidavit.

However, in the Manafort Interview conducted that same year [2014], Manafort told the FBI that he did significant work for Deripaska, a Russian oligarch. And in March 2017, in response to press reports concerning a written annual contract between Manafort and Deripaska, Manafort publicly confirmed that he had provided investment consulting services to Deripaska interests. [Redacted] also told the FBI that Deripaska helped fund Manafort’s Ukrainian work when it began in 2005-06.4 And the 2010 tax returns for a company jointly owned by Manafort and his wife — John Hannah, LLC® — reveals a $10,000,000 loan to the company from a “Russian lender.” A court-authorized search in May 2017 of a storage locker in Virginia used by Manafort revealed documents that show that the identity of the Russian lender was *Derapaska.”

4 [Entirely redacted footnote]

The news of a $10M loan from Deripaska — which the FBI obtained via the other search warrant Manafort is challenging — is certainly newsworthy.

But I’m interested in what goals — whether legal, PR, or other — Mueller’s team has in unsealing this information for the Friday hearing, especially when it would have been so damn useful in the challenge to Mueller’s authority that Ellis just rejected, given how it makes the tie between the Party of Regions work and the willingness to “collude” with Russians to help Trump win much more directly.

But it’s not just Deripaska. The July affidavit names four Russian or Ukrainian oligarchs. In addition to Deripaska, there’s this reference to Rinat Akhmetov.

This redacted reference to Dmitri Firtash.

And this likely accidental newly unredacted reference to Aras Agalarov, the guy behind the June 9 meeting.

We knew of all these ties. Now we know they’re all part of what the Mueller team is looking at as they continue to investigate Manafort.

Yet only the detail that it took the May 2017 search on Manafort’s storage unit to confirm that Deripaska had bankrolled the Party of Regions work(and therefore to demonstrate the import of Konstantin Kilimnik being named a co-conspirator in Manafort’s efforts to tamper with witnesses), as well as that that detail came from a cooperating witness, would help the government demonstrate that the two searches were valid.

The materials also include the warrant returns, which probably will be discussed. In addition to proof that only a fraction of the boxes from the storage facility were seized, which has been clear for some time, the July return provides far more detail on the slew of devices the government seized. They show that all but possibly one of the iPods seized are recent enough to be used for secure texting.

The imaging or seizure of all these iPods (there are more!) had been one complaint of Manafort’s. Coupling these technical details with the reaffirmation that Mueller was searching for evidence on the June 9 meeting, where Manafort is known to have taken notes on a device, would justify seizing such things.

The warrant return also reveals that one of Manafort’s iPhones doesn’t have an Apple ID.

This, however, may be my favorite detail from the search warrant return.


Also, the latter search return makes it clear that FBI carefully segregated any materials that might be privileged.

In any case, while the search warrant return, coupled with the unsealed parts of the affidavit, will certainly be useful Friday. Six pages of the affidavit, including all discussion of what the government knew about the June 9 meeting on July 26, 2017, remain redacted. Remember, this search happened after Manafort turned over materials to SSCI and was interviewed, but before the SJC appearance he ended up canceling.

All that said, I wonder whether this unsealing has as much to do with signaling others — maybe even people who know about any Hyatt Regency Kyiv meetings that might be of interest — what the government seized in its search of Manafort’s home.

80 replies
  1. pseudonymous in nc says:

    8GB iPod Touch = cheap burner IM device. Not enough storage for typical iPod touch stuff (music, photos, apps) but fine for email and  WhatsApp or similar. (Using WhatsApp on a Touch or iPad is/was slightly tricky because accounts are linked to phone numbers, but you can send the verification code to a phone or Skype/Google Voice number.)

    • Bob Conyers says:

      One thing I wonder about those iPods is that they don’t take SD cards, which are vastly easier to smuggle or destroy than an iPod, and you would think those are qualities someone working covertly would want.

      It’s always possible Manafort’s general IT incompetence made SD cards at too high a risk of accidental formatting or corruption, or maybe he is (was) one of those people completely wedded to Apple.

    • Rincewind says:

      Sure looks like a burner, especially since he had 5 of the same model from the same year.  Facetime became available for the iPod in Sep 2010.  The 8GB iPod model A1367 was the cheapest of the series (other options were 32, 64 GB), and the corresponding iPhone of that time period (2010-2012) was the iPhone 4/4S.  He’s also described as using a Blackberry in the 2016 Trump tower meeting, so what’s the iPod for?  Too small for a music collection.  Blackberry, like the iPod could also take voice notes even in 2010. So it’s not for extra functionality.The iPod could take notes, keep meeting schedules as well, but could not connect to cell networks that might monitor content or location.

    • stryx says:

      I’m surprised no one has mentioned the starring role the iPod played in Runaway Jury, where John Cusack risks death to protect his and the secrets it contains. Manafort does seem more like the Gene Hackman character tho.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Deripaska helped fund Manafort’s Ukrainian work when it began in 2005-06.4 And the 2010 tax returns for a company jointly owned by Manafort and his wife — John Hannah, LLC® — reveals a $10,000,000 loan to the company from a “Russian lender.” A court-authorized search in May 2017 of a storage locker in Virginia used by Manafort revealed documents that show that the identity of the Russian lender was *Derapaska.” (Emphasis added.)

    To bmaz’s often repeated question about why Mueller has not indicted Manafort’s wife – in that she seems inescapably intertwined in Manafort’s allegedly illegal acts – I can only wonder whether he’s saving that for the plea deal, especially the part about full cooperation or else, or for another superseding indictment.

    • Frank Probst says:

      I’ve been skeptical of this strategy in the past, but this certainly seems like a shot across the bow.  It may also just be there to prevent Manafort’s wife from making a weird argument to suppress things seized in the raid of Manafort’s home (although I admit that in practice, I have no idea how this would work).  I can’t see any reason that Manafort’s wife would need to be a co-owner of any of Manafort’s holdings (aside from their various residences), so she’s likely on there by choice, which puts her in more legal jeopardy than I’d previously thought.  I still think she’d go with an “I’m just a ditzy wife who signs anything my sweet and loving husband puts in front of me” defense.  That would be a good PR strategy for her, even if it wouldn’t hold up in court.  I still think indicting her would be politically risky, though.  And I don’t see it as effective leverage against Manafort.  If he won’t flip to save himself, he sure as hell won’t flip to save his wife.

    • orionATL says:

      wives can’t be forced to testify against husbands, right? or is that an old wives tale :)

      so what could mueller ask her of interest? about her own conduct?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Oh, my, no explanation needed.  Taking this all in is hard work, let alone crafting and writing it up. 

        As Chip always said to Munk, “No, thank you.”

  3. doug says:

    “Signaling to others”

    As a juror in a Fed. Rico case, this was described as “tickling the tail of the dragon.”

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      But, but, but, BMAZ says it’s never RICO.

      It really *is* RICO.

      BMAZ has harped on this a long time, that it is never RICO.

      BMAZ’s point is that it easier to prosecute for various parts of RICO. Not the whole pie.

      The problem with that strategy, is that the prosecution ends up going after the puppets, but not the puppetmasters.

      I do not believe that Special Counsel is making that mistake.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It’s not about going after the little guys instead of the boss.  The problem with a RICO charge is that it is a kind of umbrella charge.  Its success depends on making a case for the underlying crimes that comprise it.  If you can do that, RICO is more work that can confuse a jury without putting the defendant in greater jeopardy.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          I think we agree. My point is that to do full RICO, the prosecution has to be on top of *all* of the parts of RICO. And I agree, it would definitely be an chore for a jury to follow all of the discovery. Especially because they will not be allowed to take notes and connect dots. And have to listen to misleading, confusing objections.

          And then add in the fact that it will take months or possibly years. The jurors will get burned out. Recalling testimony over a long time is hard.

          Then probably sequestered for possibly many weeks after a very long trial. No fun.

          The jurors really have to be dedicated to truth.

          And smart, and retired so they can afford to survive the process.

          I would want a jury pool of about 300 people.

          Voir Dire would take weeks.

          • bmaz says:

            “Full RICO”.

            Don’t be a fool. There are people here that actually know what they are taking about when it comes to criminal law. You are clearly not one of them.

            • Rugger9 says:

              Speaking of which, I’ll ask again:

              Is there any specific provision of the US Constitution and/or case law that prohibits Kaiser Quisling from trying to pardon away state charges?  You know he will try it to save the GOP’s collective skins.

              • bmaz says:

                The wording of the clause is crystal clear, it is only for “offenses against the United States”. No state action.

              • Palli says:

                Are we totally sure that trump has a high level of concern for the “collective GOP skins”? Could pushing to discover the depths of that concern be a strategy to peel away republican support? Suggestions that trump uses blackmail against republican legislators surface but what & who are they? Was Justice Kennedy a bit late responding to trump bloc blackmail? (I don’t remember NYT sources)

                Question: What would have happened if Kennedy had waited until the exposing story before announcing his retirement?


  4. Rusharuse says:

    Meetings with Russians- Trump tells . .

    Asked in the Oval Office on Wednesday whether election meddling would arise in his talks with Putin, Trump turned to his Portuguese counterpart and said: “You never know with meetings, right? But I think a lot of good things can come from meetings with people.”


  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Another mass shooting at Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, MD. Details not yet available.

    Open season on fake news purveyors?  Where on earth might that idea have come from?

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Hope FBI caught dots that lead high.

      He definitely should be arrested for inciting terrorism.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        And what of el presidente’s constant barrage of anger directed at “fake news” MSM coverage that does not flatter him?  He’s not interviewing for a court jester or even for the best provider of medieval trademarked beer.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          The Court Jester SHS is still in the pit of misery last I heard.

          But to get some Secret Service protection.

          She must be hoarding the Bud Light!

          Dilly, Dilly.

    • harpie says:

      A short recent list of presidential statements about the Press:
      5:16 PM – 29 May 2018 “They’re fake. They are FAKE. Look how many of them,” Trump says of reporters. “That’s a lot of people. Fake news.” Big boos from the crowd.
      6:30 AM – 13 Jun 2018 So funny to watch the Fake News, especially NBC and CNN. They are fighting hard to downplay the deal with North Korea. 500 days ago they would have “begged” for this deal-looked like war would break out. Our Country’s biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!
      9:54 AM – 19 Jun 2018 Trump accuses the media of helping traffickers of children in some unknown way: “They are fake. They are helping these traffickers and these smugglers like nobody would believe. They know it.”
      5:02 PM – 20 Jun 2018 Trump refers to “those very dishonest people” and “the fake news.” The very excited crowd launches into a loud “CNN SUCKS” chant, then applauds itself.
      5:10 PM20 Jun 2018 Trump again begins to talk about jobs numbers but gets distracted by a boast about how lots of people are allegedly stuck outside the rally, then rants about how the “fake news” doesn’t ever show the crowd (the media indeed shows the crowd). Greatest hits!
      2:51 PM – 21 Jun 2018 “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” written on the back of Melania’s jacket, refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!
      12:42 PM – 23 Jun 2018 Trump calls the media “fake and disgraceful,” vaguely citing a New York Times article he says he read.
      5:36 AM – 25 Jun 2018 Such a difference in the media coverage of the same immigration policies between the Obama Administration and ours. Actually, we have done a far better job in that our facilities are cleaner and better run than were the facilities under Obama. Fake News is working overtime!
      5:10 PM – 25 Jun 2018 Trump says that the “fake news” media is going to say it was “humiliating” to Trump if McMaster loses, “So please get your asses out tomorrow and vote.”
      5:30 PM – 25 Jun 2018 The president says Gallup also “treats me horribly.” He explains: “You know, polls are fake news also.”
      1:49 PM – 28 Jun 2018 Prior to departing Wisconsin, I was briefed on the shooting at Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene.

  6. Trip says:

    Several fatalities.

    Thoughts and prayers, thoughts and prayers, thoughts and prayers, thoughts and….

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      At least five dead, others injured.  Suspect alive and in custody.  No motive yet.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Good neoliberal shit that he is, Sean Hannity blames the Capital Gazette shooting on Maxine Waters. Nice little racist rant that.

      Never let a serious crisis go to waste.  Especially if you can deflect righteous anger away from where it belongs – the NRA, neo-fascist and political leadership advocacy of violence against unflattering news media, Trump’s fawning media that enables his ever-growing excesses – by being almost as outrageous as the underlying crime. 

      Murdering the truth leads directly to murdering people. But that never seems to bother Sean’s pretty little head.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Meaning not a pistol or revolver: shotgun, hunting rifle, assault weapon.  The number of victims suggests an AR-15 semi-auto.

          • Trip says:

            I read that it was a shotgun.

            Amazing that at least 5 hours went by and there have been no leaks about the gunman. On the one hand, good, it doesn’t glorify him. On the other, if he had been Muslim, or brown, all kinds of stuff would already be out in the wild.

            Those poor people, their distraught families, the trauma. (Just like all of the others)  Assholes are already claiming they were actors. What a fucked up country we live in.

              • Trip says:

                I wonder if he was a member, and that’s why there are no leaks. It’s too quiet. No one threw out the mentally ill card, nor disgruntled worker.

              • harpie says:

                wrt the gunman:
                Baltimore Sun:
                 5:07 PM – 28 Jun 2018 Police: Suspect in his late 30s, lives in Maryland. They call shooting a “targeted attack on the Capital Gazette,” say gunman “looked for his victims.” Weapon was a shotgun. Smoke grenades also used. 
                Also: Police say threats were sent to the Capital Gazette on social media.

            • earlofhuntingfdon says:

              There are a few high-capacity shotguns, variations on battlefield weapons for, eg., the Marines.

              This was presumably well-planned by a hardline kinda guy.  He apparently “disfigured his hands,” which usually means tried to erase his fingerprints, in an attempt to delay identification.

              Acid dipping is a common tactic to achieve that.  I suppose one could try abrasion.  Burning may not work and damages more tissue.  Slicing off a thin layer of skin takes patience and some skill, and would require an accomplice.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    In keeping with the science fiction-like character of this administration, scifi great Harlan Ellison dies at 84. One of his best scripts was episode 28 of the original Star Trek, “The City on the Edge of Forever.”

    Writing his own epitaph with a humility as foreign to this administration as a wee dram of Saurian brandy, Ellison writes:

    “‘For a brief time I was here, and for a brief time, I mattered.’—HE, 1934-2018.

  8. orionATL says:

    O. T. but relevant –

    the brexit campaign and the trump campaign just had to be tied together, if for no other reason than both involved conning voters to achieve a goal of russian foreign policy, breaking up american-european alliances. and so it seems they were.

    maybe the trump campaign did not have to have its direct employees and allied hangers-on deal deal directly with russians in order to communicate its political needs. 

     this HTML class. Value is https://www.washingt  wtf???

    see  washington post, roig-franziz, helderman, et al., june 28, 7:13pm




  9. Rugger9 says:

    Trumpie Milo was also a proximate cause and double down today knowing that the shooting had occurred.  We’ll see how he feels when he gets sued by victim families for inciting the attack.   Hannity just blamed Maxine Waters because that is what Kaiser Quisling (Квислинг in his preferred language) and the palace wants for now.


    • harpie says:
      Maxine Waters cancels Alabama and Texas events after receiving a ‘very serious death threat.’ “Individuals threatened to shoot, lynch, or cause me serious bodily harm” [HuffPo]
      […] Waters’ statement says she received an increased number of hate calls and death threats after President Donald Trump attacked her on Twitter Monday and in a series of other comments. //  “As the president has continued to lie and falsely claim that I encouraged people to assault his supporters, while also offering a veiled threat that I should ‘be careful,’ even more individuals are leaving [threatening] messages and sending hostile mail to my office,” Waters said.

    • cat herder says:

      Milo would be the perfect SCOTUS nominee. I mean, why not. Republicans would vote to confirm, you know they would.

      • Trip says:

        He’s (self-hating) gay, though. They’d have to turn on him because of lunatic fringe religion.

        • cat herder says:

          They love Clarence Thomas and Ben Carson, though. They do so love them some self-hatin’ [insert marginalized group here].

          But OK, if Milo is out, what about Ann Coulter? George Zimmerman? David Duke? Fuck yeah, David Duke! He’s a respectable gentleman, he wears nice suits and nice neckties and everything.

          Franklin Graham?

    • Trip says:

      One article said he was using that twitter account until today. So a lot of it was wiped.
      I’m not discounting the misogyny, it’s a part of a lot of these cases, he definitely was. I’m just curious about the recent catalyst for the shootings.

    • Trip says:

      @Rugger9, I clicked on at least one of his old ‘likes’, and sure enough it was by a hard right adherent.

    • Palli says:

      Easy access to guns and an overriding urge to kill people.

      The NRA tripe would never have been winning propaganda if we used a descriptive for people. “Guns don’t kill people, [a certain kind of] people kill people”. Fewer investigators assigned to demonstrating activists and more to disgruntled anti-social lone wolves.

  10. Trip says:


    Marco Rubio on the important issues (via Rawstory):

    “I don’t know what I want right now but I’m going to need more than a couple days of news coverage and thoughts and prayers,” reporter Selene San Felice told CNN. “Thanks for your prayers, but I couldn’t give a fuck about them if there’s nothing else.”

    Rubio was apparently more upset by the reporter’s obscenity than the murders of five of her colleagues.

    “Sign of our times… the F word is now routinely used in news stories, tweets etc It’s not even F*** anymore,” Rubio tweeted. “Who made that decision???”

    Fuck off Marco! Civility includes not shooting people dead.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Superb comment from reporter Selene San Felice:

      “Thanks for your prayers, but I couldn’t give a fuck about them if there’s nothing else.”

      Kudos to whomever broadcast or printed it.  Rubio’s, more likely his tweetperson’s, culture war pearl clutching, to coin a phrase, is bullshit.  Propriety for the senatorial class voting thumbs up or down is mandatory.  It’s how they avoid having to say, “Et tu, Brute,” now and again.

      Everyone else can eat bread at the circuses.  Any theme to avoid doing something.  The time for that has passed.

  11. Trip says:

    Last thing:

    It’s HEROIC that The Capital Gazette put out a newspaper the day after after their friends were brutally murdered.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    To repeat the words of Senator Thomas Jordan about would be president and Senator, Johnny Iselin, because they apply so often and so well to Donald Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin:

    I despise John Iselin and everything that Iselin-ism has come to stand for. I think if John Iselin were a paid Soviet agent, he could not do more to harm this country than he’s doing now.

    That they come from the Manchurian Candidate is one more irony.

  13. Trip says:

    Michael Cohen says family and country, not President Trump, is his ‘first loyalty’

    “My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will,” Cohen told me. “I put family and country first.” When I asked Cohen directly what he would do if prosecutors forced him to choose between protecting the president and protecting his family, he said his family is “my first priority.” Cohen added: “Once I understand what charges might be filed against me, if any at all, I will defer to my new counsel, Guy Petrillo, for guidance.”

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